Definition of fustian
1a : a strong cotton and linen fabricb : a class of cotton fabrics usually having a pile face and twill weave
2 : high-flown or affected writing or speech; broadly : anything high-flown or affected in style
fustian was our Word of the Day on 01/19/2012. Hear the podcast!
Examples of fustian in a sentence
a speech awash in old-fashioned fustian and bereft of all substance
Did You Know?
Fustian has been used in English for a kind of cloth since the 13th century, but it didn't acquire its high-flown sense until at least three centuries later. One of the earliest known uses of the "pretentious writing or speech" sense occurs in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus when Wagner says, "Let thy left eye be diametarily [sic] fixed upon my right heel, with quasi vestigiis nostris insistere," and the clown replies, "God forgive me, he speaks Dutch fustian." The precise origins of the word fustian aren't clear. English picked it up from Anglo-French, which adopted it from Medieval Latin, but its roots beyond that point are a subject of some dispute.
Origin and Etymology of fustian
Middle English, from Anglo-French fustian, fustayn, from Medieval Latin fustaneum, probably from fustis tree trunk, from Latin, stick, cudgel
First Known Use: 13th century
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